Kremlin vows response if EU enacts visa ban for Russians
The EU is “irrational” enough to act against its own interests and impose visa restrictions against Russian nationals, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said. If it does, Russia will retaliate in a way that protects its citizens, he added.
Speaking to journalists about the proposed EU restrictions on Tuesday, Peskov said the Russian government believed it to be within the realm of possibility that such a policy would be introduced.
“Brussels and individual European governments have repeatedly shown an absolute lack of sense … when it comes to anti-Russian impulses,” Peskov said. He remarked that EU policies directed against Russia tended to benefit the US at the expense of their own people.
Moscow has been monitoring media reports indicating that some visa restrictions may be negotiated this week during an EU ministerial meeting in Prague. If a policy change comes out of the gathering, it cannot be left without a response by Moscow, the spokesman said.
“We will retaliate in a way that best serves our interests and the interests of our citizens,” Peskov assured, adding that the exact response can only be formulated if and when the EU acts.
Ukraine and its most hardline EU supporters have been calling for an almost full ban on visa issuance to Russian citizens, with exceptions only on humanitarian grounds. The measure is touted as a proportionate response to Russia’s attack against Ukraine and the failure of its people to oppose their government’s policies. Some nations, such as Estonia, have claimed that banning Russian visitors was necessary for national security.
However, countries such as Germany and France are reportedly advocating to other members of the bloc to take a less restrictive approach, arguing that a collective punishment of the Russian people would only alienate them from the West and boost domestic support of the country’s government.